Here is the full Putin “state of the nation” address that the Western mainstream media have been so apoplectic over in their reporting today. The speech is more than two hours long. The section in which Putin describes Russia’s latest weapons systems–the portion US elites are so incensed over–begins at about one hour and 15 minutes in.
Actually, however, it’s all a pretty interesting speech. The first hour is devoted to Russian domestic issues, and here we see the Russian leader discussing ways of improving the lives of ordinary people–proposing specific ideas in his discussion of domestic policies and managing to do so in a rather meaningful manner seldom seen from US officials. Among his proposals are increasing pensions for the elderly as well as raising the level of aid to families with dependent children, and he also wants to create a “vibrant middle class” and to “reduce mortgage rates.” One plan he talks about is to increase home ownership, in part by increasing the construction of new homes, and he discusses infrastructure improvements, including a new bridge being built to connect Crimea with the Russian mainland, as well as road improvements throughout the rest of Russia, including 11 million rubles for roads that will become part of the “Russia-Asia-Pacific corridor.”
Health care and public education are also discussed. Putin wants to reverse a trend of closing hospitals in smaller cities, and he desires to increase health care spending to between 4 and 5 percent of the GDP. He wants to increase the salaries of doctors, nurses, and teachers, and he also addresses environmental issues, calling for “high levels of environmental protection and well being.”
“You can’t imagine a healthy life with millions of people drinking water which is below the standards,” he says, and he pledged to “tighten up environmental policies for industries.”
That being said, however, he also wants to help business people, and specifically proposes working to “improve business climate.” He hopes to motivate companies “to produce sophisticated goods,” and he envisions Russia becoming a major world export leader. He also wants to make loans available to small businesses.
For the most part this man, regularly portrayed by the US mainstream media as some sort of horrible autocrat, comes across as a leader who truly has the best interest of his people at heart–rather than some shyster simply trying to score talking points and to fool as many people as possible, as so many US politicians come across.
As the camera pans around the crowd, you’ll see certain faces you probably will recognize, including Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church. There is also a group of school kids present. What’s particularly interesting is the close-up camera shots of peoples’ faces (there is considerable panning throughout the video), and the looks on individual people’s faces when Putin covers certain topics in his speech. The looks are probably most intense when he gets to the subject of national security.
Putin discusses how the US, in 2002, unilaterally withdrew from the ABM treaty–a treaty which had “created an atmosphere of trust” between the US and Russia.
“At a certain point it seemed to me that we could achieve a compromise in this area, but no. All of our proposals, all our proposals, were rejected,” he said.
He then discusses various new weapons systems Russia has developed, including ballistic and cruise missiles capable of thwarting US missile defense systems. And as the MSM report, his remarks are indeed accompanied by video graphics. The segment of the speech in which he utters the words “Listen to us now”–the words which particularly aroused the media’s ire–comes at about one hour and 42 minutes into the video. The words are met with a standing ovation from the crowd.
The last 10 to 15 minutes of the speech are probably the most powerful. Here is an excerpt from it:
This military power is not to threaten anybody. We have no plans, neither have we ever had plans, to be an aggressor and attack anybody. We have never had any plans to attack anybody, we are not going to take anything away from anybody. We have everything we need. On the contrary, I’d like to emphasize, and this is very important, Russia’s growing military power is just a guarantee of peace on our planet because this military might would preserve the strategic balance, the balance of forces in the world which has always been the key factor of international security after World War II to this day.
All in all, it’s a pretty good speech. On the down side, however, Putin continues to refer to the US and EU as Russia’s “partners.” This would suggest that, sadly, he still doesn’t realize what he’s up against. Even so, the military flexing of muscles is a hopeful sign. And Putin is correct on one thing–that a strong Russian deterrent is probably the only hope we have of avoiding World War III.